Decatur Mayoral Candidate Pat McDaniel has released the following statement on Governor Rauner's Employee Empowerment Zones Proposal:
"Although there are still some differences to come together on in our Decatur Community between some local industry management and local Labor Union Organizations, there have been many bridges built to bridge some of the gaps between the groups since the turbulent days of the 1990s, and that is positive for the community.
"During those turbulent times, Decatur was portrayed by local, state and national media as the battleground of the country between company management and Labor Unions, and that portrayal set the community back in putting a positive light on all the good things that were happening in our community.
"I think I can speak for all community residents in that we don’t need the negative publicity on the state or national scene again as the community begins to come up with a new Marketing Branding Campaigns to promote all the positive things that are happening in the community within the state and on the national scene.
"Newly elected Governor Bruce Rauner has chosen to put the Decatur community on the national media map again in a negative way in the battle between local industry and Labor Unions with his proposal that communities such as Decatur should become an Employee Empowerment Zone which would allow local communities to decide themselves whether they want to become a Right-to-Work Zone which will pit hardworking local Labor Union members against local industry management.
"Decatur has come too far since the 1990s in management and labor relations to return to those days of disruption in the community as the community makes strides in fostering new Economic Development projects to help improve the lives of all citizens within the community.
"I look forward to watching Governor Rauner and the State of Illinois Assembly Members working together over the next few years to righting the ship of state we call Illinois with innovative legislation and programs that will get the state out its financial mess and I know there will be pain on all sides, but the governor’s proposal to have individual communities create their own Right-to-Work Zones will set the stage in my opinion of creating unwanted divisions within Decatur that will drain the new positive energy in Economic Development that is taking place in our community that will help build a stronger community."
City Council Candidate Bill Faber Vows to Fight Destructive and Unlawful “Right to Work” Zones
Bill Faber, candidate for Decatur City Council, has announced his
opposition to Governor Rauner’s call for a so-called “Right to Work” (RTW) zone in
Decatur. Faber said, “Decatur works best when business and labor work together.
Governor Rauner’s proposal is an assault on Decatur’s working families.”
A recent University of Illinois study found that RTW lowers worker earnings by as much as 9% in the manufacturing sector and 22% in the construction sector.1 Additionally, the study found that RTW laws increase gender and racial wage inequity, lowering wages for female workers by as much as 8% and wages for African Americans by as much as 9%. Other studies have shown annual wages are more than $5,000 lower in RTW states and there are 51% more workplace fatalities in RTW states.
Faber explained, “To attract and retain new businesses, we absolutely must have a strong and skilled work force. A push for a local right to work zone would only lower wages, weaken our local work force, and divide our community.”
Faber says the label “right to work,” is misleading, noting that Rauner's proposal allows workers to avoid paying union dues, but still benefit from union representation. Faber called Rauner’s proposal "the right to free-load.” He also explained that unions are not forced on people: “Workers vote a union ‘in’ and workers can vote a union ‘out’. Unions increase women's pay, provide workers a safer place to work, and only a union can stand up to the boss - and keep a job.”
Faber, an attorney for over 35 years, also believes RTW zones are illegal. Faber said, “Congress passed the Wagner Act in 1935. It recognized unions for the first time. The Wagner Act prevents cities and counties from enacting the type of zones Rauner proposes. Only a state government can act as Rauner suggests. Lawyers call this pre- emption.” Faber believes Rauner's proposal will only result in costly protracted litigation, as has been the result of a similar proposal in Kentucky.